300,000 students,
60+ universities.

While the startup ecosystem in Boston is flourishing, it's still too hard for undergrads to secure that small seed investment that will move their ventures forward.


The best founders, Boston roots.

Some of the best founders of our generation got their start as students in Boston. It's a truly special place.


That's why we founded
Rough Draft Ventures.

We're a student partnership that invests $5-25K into the most talented and driven student tech entrepreneurs in Boston. Our talented student team, accomplished advisors, and driven portfolio companies are here to help you take your business to the next level.


10 students, diverse expertise.

Our student team is here to make your idea a reality. With experience ranging from hardware hacking to growth hacking, public relations and press to UI and UX design, our team is at your disposal any day of the week.

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Peter Boyce II

    

Peter is a recent Harvard graduate and co-founder of Rough Draft Ventures. Before launching RDV, he helped rally the tech community at Harvard through his work directing HackHarvard and Harvard College Venture Partners. Prior to this, Peter has worked at NYC-based startup Skillshare, helped found personal finance platform GoGirl Finance, and worked on technology partnerships and marketing at Bad Boy Entertainment.

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Emma Tangoren

    

Emma is a senior at Boston University studying Public Relations and Sociology. She has previously worked with companies like Foursquare, Uber, General Assembly, and Etsy. This past summer, Emma also participated in Lerer Ventures’ Summer School VC program.

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John Brennan

    

John is a senior at Tufts University studying economics and teaching a freshman seminar on startups and technology. He works part-time for Twitter out of their Cambridge office and spent last summer interning for the company in NYC. Before Twitter, John took time off from school to work full-time for an early stage software startup in Boston.

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Erica Swallow

    

Erica is an MBA candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management, co-founder of peer-to-peer delivery service Deliverish, and an active contributor to Forbes and Mashable. She holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing and international business from the NYU Stern School of Business and previously managed social media for The New York Times and technology startups Contently and WeHostels.

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Zachary Hamed

    

Zach is a senior at Harvard majoring in computer science. A designer and developer, he spent his last summer at Jawbone. He is also a member of the newest class of Thiel Fellows, and will be taking two years off starting in December. Previously at Harvard, he served on the boards of HackHarvard, HCVP, and was a student representative for the Harvard Innovation Lab.

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Katie Siegel

  

Katie is a Sophomore at MIT studying Computer Science. She spent this summer as an Information Security Intern at Square, and currently is a Web Developer for the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. She is one of the lead organizers and founders of HackMIT, a 1000-person annual hackathon, and co-directed Startup Bootcamp 2013.

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Kasey Uhlenhuth

  

Kasey Uhlenhuth is a senior at Harvard majoring in computer science. She is president of the entrepreneurship and venture capital club Harvard College Venture Partners. Outside of HCVP, Kasey played on Harvard’s varsity women’s lacrosse team for three years. She has worked for multiple startups and spent her last summer working at a growth equity firm in Boston.

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Jacob Mulligan

    

Jacob is a Junior at Northeastern studying economics and computer science. He returned to school this fall after taking the last year off class to work at PerkStreet financial, solo backpack in Southeast Asia for two months and work as a Hackstar at TechStars where he joined PillPack as a product developer. At Northeastern he is a tech mentor at IDEA and helps run NUhacks.

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Pratik Agarwal

    

Pratik is an MBA candidate at the Harvard Business School. He most recently worked with the mobile growth team at Airbnb before which he co-founded two startups in India. He holds a Bachelor’s in Technology degree in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi.

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Juliana Nazaré

    

Juliana is a senior at Olin College of Engineering studying electrical and computer engineering. During school, she works part-time at Startup Institute on the rapid development of technical curricula. This past summer, she worked on CS research at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and has previously interned at AMD and Mozaic Design. At Olin, she helps run The Foundry and teach Mobile Proto, Olin’s student-run class in Android development.

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Nitesh Banta

    

Nitesh is a co-founder of Rough Draft Ventures and an investor at General Catalyst where he focuses on early-stage technology businesses. Nitesh started his first business called Summer Workation while he was a student at Harvard. He was later on the founding team of Getaround, while he was a student at Singularity University. As an investor, Nitesh actively works with many companies that were founded by student entrepreneurs including: Getaround, Handybook, Mark43 and Locu (acquired by GoDaddy).

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Turner Bohlen

    

Turner is a senior at MIT studying physics with a concentration in computer science. Over the past two years he has directed and advised StartLabs as well as founded and run the first Spokes America project. During past summers he has worked as a software engineer with LiveLoop and a small group called Factory. With a persistent interest in video games, art, and design, Turner has also had his hand in some more obscure projects, such as Psychobunnies.

Our alumni are here to help.

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Edward Burnell

  
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Ryan Dawidjan

    
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Bilal
Zuberi

    
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Delian Asparouhov

    

We love our portfolio companies.

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Equity Endeavor

  

Equity Endeavor is a crowdfunding platform that allows local business owners to raise funds for accomplishing improvement and growth projects.

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Deskconnect

  

DeskConnect is the missing link between your devices. Move web pages, documents, pictures and everything else between your devices with one tap.

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Mercaux

  

Mercaux is a mobile solution that bridges the gap between designers and end customers.

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Indico

  

Machine learning without the Ph.D.

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Bowery

  

Bowery offers a developer environment with unlimited storage and computing power.

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Vaska Tech

  

Vaska Tech provides smart-home systems that automate ecommerce.

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Mark43

  

Mark43 develops elegant and usable software for police officers across the country.

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Technical Machine

  

Technical Machine is enabling software developers to do hardware development with their platform Tessel.

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Watchsend

  

Automatically record video of your users interacting with your iOS app for user testing.

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Valet.io

  

Valet.io helps nonprofits raise more money both in person and online by making the donation process fast and trackable.

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FindIt

  

FindIt is the easiest way to find emails and files across your cloud accounts using your phone.

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LifeGuard Games

  

Building mobile games for healthier kids.

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Nightingale

  

Nightingale is a health technology company developing data-driven solutions to improve the quality of patient care.

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RequestNow


RequestNow is a song requesting service that serves as a unique branding and marketing utility for DJs.

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Speech4Good

  

Speech4Good is a mobile speech therapy app that helps people with speech disorders find their voice through accessible and effective technology.


Our mentors? They're all ears.

Our team of advisors and mentors is world-renowned—they're business leaders who have founded companies worth billions of dollars.

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Neil Blumenthal

Neil Blumenthal is one of the founders of Warby Parker. As the former director of non-profit VisionSpring, Neil spent the better part of 5 years giving glasses to people living on less than $4 per day who otherwise would not be able to see. A native of New York City, Neil is a Leo, enjoys long walks in the park, and is a big Hall and Oates fan.

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Dharmesh Shah

Dharmesh is the founder and CTO of HubSpot, a Boston based company providing marketing software for small businesses. The company has over 3,000 customers, 170 employees, and was voted the best company to work for in Boston in 2010. Dharmesh is also the co-author of book "Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs" published by Wiley in October, 2009. Dharmesh has a B.S. in Computer Science from UAB and an M.S. in the Management of Technology from MIT.

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Kevin Colleran

Kevin worked at Facebook, where he was the first sales executive and among the company's first ten employees. Kevin's various internet 1.0 companies included StartingPage.com, LiveService.com and PhotoMasterpieces. While in college in Boston, Colleran co-Founded BlabberForce Enterprises, a company that recruited student entrepreneurs on college campuses (called 'Blabbermouths') and gave them the tools to start their own grassroots marketing companies on their own campuses.

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Helen Greiner

Helen is a co-founder of iRobot and currently CEO of CyPhyWorks. She is a Trustee of the Museum of Science (Boston); on the Computer Science Advisory Board of Worcester Polytechnic Institute; and a Director of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).

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David Cancel

David is the Chief Product Officer of Hubspot. Before joining HubSpot, David was the CEO of Performable, a next-generation marketing automation software platform. Prior to Performable, David was the co-founder and CTO of Lookery, the founder and CTO of Compete, which was acquired by WPP(LON:WPP), and the CTO of BuyerZone, which was acquired by Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK). In the late 90s, David was part of the founding team of Bolt.com and part of Lycos.

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Raymie Stata

Raymie Stata was the Chief Technology Officer at Yahoo!. Prior to joining Yahoo!, he founded Stata Laboratories, maker of the Bloomba search-based e-mail client and the SAProxy anti-spam filter, which he sold to Yahoo! in October 2004 . Stata is an alumnus of MIT, where he received bachelor's and master's degrees in Computer Science and Engineering in 1991, and a Ph.D. in 1996.

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Paula Long

Paula Long is the CEO and co-founder of DataGravity. She previously co-founded storage provider EqualLogic. Paula served as Vice President of Product Development at Heartland Robotics. Prior to Heartland Paula was Co-Founder and EVP of Products and Strategy at EqualLogic which was acquired by Dell for $1.4 billion in 2008. She is a graduate of Westfield State College.

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David Gilboa

David Gilboa is one of the founders of Warby Parker. Like a Viking from his Swedish homeland, Dave spends his free time seeking adventure. His two most recent conquests include trekking across Antarctica and becoming the fastest person to ever run a marathon in a flamingo costume. He aspires to one day summit Everest while wearing his trusty monocle.

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Jason Jacobs

Jason is the founder & CEO of RunKeeper, a mobile fitness platform that enables runners and other fitness enthusiasts to get motivated, stay motivated, and improve their results over time. Prior to founding RunKeeper, Jason worked for 10 years in small, high-growth technology companies, always longing for the day when he could start his own. He holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MBA from Babson College, where he was an Olin Fellow.


You have questions.
We have answers.

Here are some common questions we get about Rough Draft.

How can we get in touch with you?

We want to be easily accessible. We are at campus events, startups events, class demo days, and general networking events. You can fill out our contact form below or write to us individually at the email addresses in our bios.

Who is eligible to receive funding?

We currently limit investments to Greater Boston area colleges and universities. Undergrads, graduate students, and MBAs all qualify. At least one of the main founders has to be student. We want to focus on investments with a heavy software focus, including hardware/software systems companies.

Is this an accelerator or an incubator?

Neither! We are an investment fund, investing in student startups at the earliest stage. We do have an awesome group of advisors comprising of big names in the tech industry, and mentors who know their stuff well. We help our portfolio companies, and other students, by removing the seemingly trivial barriers that hinder student entrepreneurship. Let us know how we can be helpful, and we'll do everything we can to help move your venture forward.

How much funding is available to students?

We want to fund more student startups, not fewer. We will provide the initial small amount of funding needed to build products and get student startups off the ground (e.g. to get access to certain data, buy iPads for development, run design competitions, hire part-time expertise, pay for summer rent, etc.) Each investment is made on a case-by-case basis, depending on what the startup needs.

What form does the funding take?

We invest on extremely simple terms: convertible loan with no discount and no cap. General Catalyst has provided no-strings attached funding for this initiative.

How about follow-on funding? The next $100k or $500k?

We only invest in the earliest stage of a company and do not provide follow-on financing beyond the first investment. Some of our best investments might join Y-combinator, TechStars, other accelerators, or just raise more money from other investors and continue on. When appropriate, Rough Draft will happily facilitate introductions to angel, seed, and VC investors.

Press inquiries? Press kit?

Contact us using our contact form below.


Read some more. We like to blog.

We write and cross-post our portfolio announcements, startup news, and student entrepreneurship posts on Medium. Here are our most recent posts:

Vaska Tech:

Tuesday April 22, 2014

Can you envision a world where every product you use, could sense when it was running low, and could automatically replenish itself?


Indico: Machine Learning without the PhD

Thursday April 17, 2014

Slater Victoroff and Alec Radford of Olin College of Engineering are looking to make machine learning as simple as any other programming…


Design in Enterprise

Wednesday March 12, 2014

The value of design in a consumer app is fairly well appreciated today— design, branding, and user experience have a meaningful impact on…


On Startup Fundraising

Thursday January 02, 2014

Fundraising is one of the first challenges an entrepreneur faces when founding a tech startup — the Rough Draft Ventures crew put on a…



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